New Jersey Online Poker Heads Into 2019 With Positive Momentum

The one thing that is predictable about the New Jersey online poker market is the unpredictability of it all. This past week seemed to be about righting some wrongs.

Players found their way back to their home felt, all three operators met their Sunday major tournament guarantees, and peak traffic trends are finally in positive territory.

It’s a good sign that we are heading into the holiday weeks with positive news. For now, though, let’s take a closer look at the key stories from the US regulated poker scene for the past two weeks:

  • The total seven-day rolling average number of cash game players increased by over 100 players since our last report
  • WSOP.com reclaimed the cash game players it gave up to the competition two weeks ago
  • Pokerstars NJ is showing a noteworthy positive trend line in its peak traffic figures
  • partypoker NJ was able to hold onto the increase in cash game players it gained a few weeks ago.

Now, let’s take a look back at the tournament and cash game trends in more detail for the two weeks ending Dec. 16, 2018.

U.S. Regulated Online Poker Operators

The major U.S. poker operators are:

Operator Network Provider Other Sites in the Network
WSOP.com 888 888poker
PokerStarsNJ PokerStars None
partypokerNJ partypoker Borgata Poker and PlayMGM-NJ

Pala Poker also operates in New Jersey on its own network. We do not include Pala Poker in this report because the traffic volume is low and doesn’t affect the latest US online poker trends.

Major online poker tournaments summary

As mentioned, for the first time in three months, all three operators met their Sunday major tournament guarantee on Dec. 16. That is quite an accomplishment on a calendar that did not include any big buy-ins or have some fancy jewelry up for grabs.

And yet, only WSOP.com was able to meet its guarantees both weeks. After losing some ground over the past six weeks, and some slower-than-normal traffic, it appears WSOP.com is once again settling back into its typical traffic pattern.

Consistency, it not something often associated with the New Jersey poker market. Overall, though, the trend lines for the past two months have evened out. PokerStars NJ is showing a slightly positive trend, while WSOP.com and partypoker NJ are showing slightly negative ones. Even so, it is good to see the market stabilizing a bit.

It is going to take more of the same to attack the negative trend line that the overall number of entries since May is showing. 

Sunday major online tournaments by the numbers

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018:

Tournament Entries Guarantee Actual Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly NLH $100,000 Guaranteed 369 $100,000 $110,700 $10,700
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special $30,000 Guaranteed 137 $30,000 $25,482 -$4,518
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday NLH $35,000 Guaranteed 172 $35,000 $34,400 -$600

Information for the tournaments held on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018:

Tournament Entries Guarantee Actual Prize Pool Difference
WSOP $320 Sunday Weekly NLH $100,000 Guaranteed 414 $100,000 $124,200 $24,200
PokerStarsNJ $200 Sunday Special $30,000 Guaranteed 167 $30,000 $31,062 $1,062
partypokerNJ $215 Sunday NLH $35,000 Guaranteed 188 $35,000 $37,600 $2,600

Average cash game and peak traffic summary

New Jersey online poker cash games posted some positive news across the board this week. What WSOP.com lost in terms of players last week, it seems to have found.

It ended the recent two-week period posting a seven-day rolling average of 220 cash game players. That figure is almost double the number from our last report and the highest number since the summer when the World Series of Poker was in session.

After months of holding steady with a seven-day rolling average of 45 cash game players, two weeks ago partypoker NJ increased their average by five players. They maintained the increase this week.

PokerStars NJ was the big winner in our last report. They don’t get that distinction this week. It ended up giving a few cash game players back. Yet, it is still posting an average cash game player number that is well above what it has seen in months.

Overall, the total seven-day rolling average number of cash game players increased by 100 players when compared to the previous two weeks. We haven’t seen a jump like that in quite a while.

Peak traffic has ventured out of declining trend territory for all three operators. It is usually the tournaments that provide us with good news. It is nice to finally get some decent results on the cash side of the things.

Factors impacting US regulated online poker in the coming week

The most significant impact on New Jersey online poker in the next few weeks will be the holidays. Looking back over the past few years, there have been holiday seasons that were good and some that were bad. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give us a good sense of what to expect.

The data from the last two weeks is encouraging heading into the last few weeks of the year. At the same time, it is hard to set the expectations too high because we all know New Jersey poker is finicky.

Regardless, it would be nice to write two positive New Jersey online poker reports in a row. This is week one. Here’s hoping we don’t find any coal in our stockings or headaches from too much champagne when we report back here on Jan. 2, 2019.

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